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Helping Our Dog Show Family

From time to time we hear the sad news of one of our own dog show family members falling ill or being right in the middle of a car accident. But it is in hard times like these that we all seem to come together for the best.

On February 19, 2013, Pat and Don Rodgers, along with their assistant Alex Todd, were on their way home to Washington state from a dog show in California when their motor home was struck by a semi. The damages were bad – very bad. Some even say it’s a miracle everyone survived.

The dogs in their vehicle were shaken up, but safe. All except for one, that is. Pat’s personal dog, the Whippet Steeler, had gone missing after the accident.

As Pat, Don, Alex and the dogs received care, their dog family and the whole community came together as one to help search for Steeler.

On February 20, Steeler was found with the help of every single person who took the time to either volunteer or even re-post his picture to Facebook!

I would like to dedicate this DFR to all of my dog show family, especially Pat and Don Rodgers. I hope that with a few short words I too can do my part in helping the bad get a little bit better.

From Pat and Don Rodgers themselves:

“WOW!!! I am sitting here with goose bumps! The dog community is amazing! You just can’t know how much this means, it’s NOT the amount; it’s the fact that SO many are showing their love and concern. We are all so very blessed to be part of the ‘dog family.’”


What you may not know is just how close to home this story is to me. When I was just 15, Pat, Don and even Steeler took me under their wings. They not only showed me the ropes in the dog show world, but they taught me self-confidence. We all managed to have a good time while learning as well. I would absolutely not be where I am today without the experiences I had while assisting Pat and Don. And I couldn’t be happier that everyone, though a little bruised and battered, is doing just fine.

Please be sure to visit their Facebook page for frequent updates on how they are getting along. You can also donate here. Every little bit helps, even if all you can donate is $5!

Many well wishes to Don, Pat and Alex, and to our very own BIG dog show family!

Just another reason Dogs Freakin’ Rule!

Written by

Kayla Bertagnolli is a 23-year-old from Ogden, UT, who's been involved in the dog show world her whole life. A former junior handler who learned about breeding Beagles from her mother Leah, she assisted several professional handlers and is currently working to become a Junior Showmanship judge. Kayla is passionate about photography and writes the twice-weekly blog, DFR. She plans to continue breeding and showing, and expects to stay involved in dogs "for life!"
  • Sonya Henderson,Raynics Bassets February 27, 2013 at 2:28 PM

    I just finished reading the blog re: Pat and Don’s accident I got to know them both when I lived in Washington and saw them at many dog shows when I was stil there. I was glad to read in the blog that they were both OK and that Steeler was also found and OK also. I will be looking for them at the upcoming shows in Oregon where I now live. What a great ending to a terrible incident in their lives. A great big ALOHA from Sonya Henderson and the HOUNDS.

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